This light and healthy Smoked Salmon Salad recipe makes a wonderful summer meal. With a creamy caper and chive salad dressing, fresh baby greens, and soft boiled eggs, this salad takes less than 10 minutes to assemble and every bite is nourishing yet refreshing. Smoked salmon with green salad makes a perfect brunch recipe for Mother’s Day, baby shower, or Easter dinner, or anytime you want a healthy meal but don’t want to cook.
Smoked salmon is a wonderful delicacy, but did you know it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals? Let’s look at some of the most important health benefits to eating smoked salmon
Healthy Smoked Salmon Salad Recipe
I am blown away by how good this smoked salmon salad is! It’s simple, healthy, and comes together in less than 10 minutes. Perfect for spring and summer! If you are like me, you don’t want to spend too much time on preparing a quick brunch or lunch meal, this smoked salmon recipe is not only gorgeous looking but also filling and nourishing.
Let me show you a few tips I learned to make the best salad with smoked salmon!
BEST SMOKED SALMON TO BUY
My mom always said that when a dish is really simple, the quality of the ingredients become really crucial and today’s recipe is an example of that.
When shopping for smoked salmon, try to look for wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Wild-caught salmon has a better ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fats, compared to farm-raised. The color is naturally dark pink.
The flavor is smoky, salty, and absolutely delicious!
WHAT SALAD DRESSING WORKS WITH SMOKED SALMON
Chive, dill weed, and capers with lemon or vinegar make an excellent salad dressing for smoked salmon salad. You can pair the same salad recipe with a light vinaigrette dressing or a creamy rich salad dressing.
Here I selected a French-influenced creamy caper and chive dressing to go with my smoked salmon. I love the salty and brainy flavor from the capers paired beautifully with the salmon and the acid from the red wine vinegar helps to cut the fattiness of the fish.
Because this dish is light, a creamy and rich salad dressing makes it more substantial and keeps you full longer.
HOW TO MAKE THIS KETO FRIENDLY SMOKED SALMON SALAD
The salad is gorgeous looking and super simple to assemble.
- Add baby greens – you can use mixed greens and butter lettuce and with a few sprinkles of frisee or radicchio.
- Add healthy fats – serve the salmon straight from the packet and add soft-boiled eggs or avocado.
- Dress it up! Drizzle and gently toss with a ranch style creamy dressing or a light citrus and herb based salad dressing.
SMOKED SALMON SALAD WITH CREAMY CAPER CHIVE DRESSING
For the soft-boiled jammy eggs:
Bring a medium pot of water to boil and bring the heat down to low simmering. Carefully and slowly add the eggs one-by-one into the water, using a slotted spoon.
Turn the heat up to medium-low and simmer the eggs for about 6 ½ minutes. You should see small bubbles, coming from the eggshell. After about 3 minutes, use a spoon to gently push and move the eggs in the water so that the yolks will remain in the center.
Soak the eggs in room temperature water and peel once they are cool to touch.
For the smoked salmon salad:
Make creamy caper chive dressing.
In a large salad mixing bowl, add baby greens and smoked salmon. If the salmon pieces are too large, use your hand to gently tear them apart.
Cut the eggs in half and add them to the salad. Drizzle with salad dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy the salad right away or slightly chilled.
- You can swap eggs for avocado.
- Add a few sprinkles of frisee or radicchio to your salad bowl for more color and texture contrast.
- Once you open the smoked salmon packet, store the salmon in a sealed container in the fridge. It’s best to consume the salmon in 2 days for best flavor!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SMOKED SALMON
Smoked salmon, which is prized for its salty, fireside flavor, is often considered a delicacy owing to its relatively high cost.
It’s commonly mistaken for lox, another salmon product that’s cured but not smoked.
However, like lox, smoked salmon is usually enjoyed on a bagel or crackers with other toppings like cream cheese, cucumber, or tomato.
This article explains everything you need to know about smoked salmon, including its nutrients, curing methods, and health benefits and risks.
Smoked salmon is relatively low in calories while boasting high quality protein, essential fats, and several vitamins and minerals.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of smoked salmon provides :
- Calories: 117
- Protein: 18 grams
- Fat: 4 grams
- Sodium: 600–1,200 mg
- Phosphorus: 13% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper: 26% of the DV
- Selenium: 59% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 9% of the DV
- Niacin: 30% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 16% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 136% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 9% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 86% of the DV
- Choline: 16% of the DV
What’s more, smoked salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, supplying a combined 0.5 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving
These fats are considered essential because your body cannot make them, so you must obtain them from your diet.
EPA and DHA are important for brain function, heart health, and healthy aging
Due to how it’s processed, smoked salmon is high in sodium, containing 600–1,200 mg per 3.5-ounce (100 gram) serving
In comparison, the same serving of fresh salmon provides 75 mg of sodium
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend limiting sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke
The World Health Organization (WHO) and American Heart Association (AHA) advise an even lower threshold — 2,000 and 1,500 mg per day, respectively
As such, you may want to monitor your intake of smoked salmon, particularly if you’re sensitive to salt.
Smoked salmon is an excellent source of protein, numerous vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Yet, it’s much higher in sodium than fresh salmon.
How smoked salmon is made
Smoking is a processing method for flavoring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke. It’s commonly used with meat, poultry, and fish.
The smoking process
To smoke salmon, thawed, boneless fillets are covered in salt — and occasionally sugar — and allowed to sit for 12–24 hours to draw out the moisture through a process called curing.
The longer the curing process, the more salt the salmon contains.
By drawing out moisture, the salt enhances flavor and acts as a preservative to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
Next, the fillets are rinsed with water to remove excess salt before being transferred to a smoking kiln to dry. The drying process helps the fillets develop a pellicle, which is a coating of protein that allows smoke to better adhere to the surface of the fish.
Attached to the kiln is a smoker that burns wood chips or sawdust — typically from oak, maple, or hickory trees — to produce smoke.
Cold- vs. hot-smoked salmon
Salmon can be either hot- or cold-smoked. The major difference is the temperature of the smoking chamber.
For cold-smoked salmon, the temperature should be 50–90°F (10–32°C) for 20–24 hours. This temperature range is not hot enough to cook the salmon, so extra care should be taken during preparation and curing to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses
Conversely, for hot smoking, the chamber must be warm enough to achieve an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) for at least 30 minutes to properly cook the salmon
Most smoked salmon on the market is cold-smoked. You can distinguish hot-smoked varieties because their packaging generally states that they’ve been fully cooked
Cold-smoked salmon tends to be smoother and mild while hot-smoked salmon is flaky and smokier in taste.
Food scientists generally advise against using cold-smoking methods at home because of the food safety risks involved. Yet, hot smoking can be safely performed at home with the proper equipment and techniques
Selection and storage
Whereas some varieties of smoked salmon require refrigeration, others don’t until the package is opened. Check the product label for recommendations for storage.
Once opened, smoked salmon can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for 3 months.
You should avoid smoked salmon that has lots of dark bits. These bits tend to have an unpleasant taste and should have been trimmed off — though they’re sometimes left on the final product to increase package weight and cost.
Smoked salmon is made by curing fillets with salt, then placing them in a smoking kiln. Most fillets are cold-smoked, meaning the temperature they’re cooked at is too low to kill potentially harmful bacteria.
Health benefits and risks
Smoked salmon provides numerous health benefits, but you should keep a few downsides in mind.
Benefits of smoked salmon
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which fatty fish like salmon provide, have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and age-related mental decline
These fats may work by lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation, and maintaining brain structure and function.
Nonetheless, other nutrients in fatty fish may be partly responsible for these effects, as several studies on omega-3 supplements have failed to find the same benefits
The USDA recommends that adults eat at least 8 ounces (227 grams) of seafood per week to obtain around 250 mg of combined EPH and DHA
Smoked salmon also boasts a number of vitamins and minerals that are vital to your health. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving contains a whopping 136% of your daily vitamin B12 needs, as well as 86% of the DV for vitamin D
Risks of smoked salmon
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of smoked salmon can harbor over half of the daily limit for sodium set by the USDA.
Thus, if you watch your salt consumption, you may want to moderate your intake of smoked salmon or eat fresh salmon instead.
Furthermore, observational studies tie smoked and processed meats to an increased risk of certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer
Smoked salmon may also increase your risk of listeriosis, a foodborne illness caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes
This bacterium is easily destroyed by heat but grows at 34–113°F (1–45°C), the temperature range at which cold-smoked salmon is treated.
Listeriosis is more likely to infect older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Therefore, these groups should avoid cold-smoked salmon — although canned and shelf-stable varieties are considered safe
Smoked salmon provides heart-healthy omega-3s, as well as several other nutrients, but it’s particularly high in salt. Cold-smoked varieties may increase your risk of listeriosis.
Ways to eat smoked salmon
Here are a few tasty ways to enjoy smoked salmon:
- on a bagel with cream cheese
- atop your favorite salad
- on toast with scrambled eggs
- baked into gratin
- in potato-leek soup
- mixed into a pasta dish
- stirred into a dip for crackers
- on a platter with vegetables
What’s more, you can make hot-smoked salmon at home if you have your own smoker.
Start by curing fillets in salt for at least 4 hours. Next, pat them dry and place them in a smoker at 225°F (107°C) until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). You can monitor their temperature using a meat thermometer.
You can enjoy smoked salmon in countless ways. Many people like to eat it in dips or on bagels, salads, and pastas.
The bottom line
Smoked salmon is a salty, cured fish renowned for its fatty texture and distinctive flavor. It’s packed with high quality protein, essential omega-3 fats, and several vitamins and minerals.
However, it contains a significant amount of sodium, and cold-smoked varieties may increase your risk of listeriosis.
Still, this smoky delicacy can be a healthy addition to your diet when eaten in moderation.